Nel's New Day

February 15, 2019

DDT’s ‘Art of the Deal,’ a National Emergency

Using executive action is “a very, very dangerous thing that should be overwritten easily by the Supreme Court” and an impeachable offence, according to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). He tweeted:

“Repubs must not allow Pres Obama to subvert the Constitution of the US for his own benefit & because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress.”

On C-Span, VP Mike Pence said that real leadership comes from hammering out a deal with Congress. He explained:

“When I talk about the consent of the governed, that is where the American people work their will. If the president were to go through with this [national emergency order], he is acting outside the consent of the governed and is not providing leadership to solve this issue facing our country in the way the American people would expect a leader to do.”

That was five years ago, and now the man sitting in the Oval Office has created a fictitious national emergency “for virtual invasion purposes” to get money for “wall” because he failed to negotiate with Congress. DDT may get $600 million from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund—money taken from people who may not have been charged with crimes—and $2.5 billion from a Defense Department anti-drug program. Another $3.6 billion could come from military construction funds.

Under the National Emergencies Act (1976), House disapproval of DDT’s executive order would require Senate consideration that could pass with a simple majority. Several GOP senators have voiced opposition to DDT’s emergency declaration, and two-thirds of the people oppose building a wall, including more than one-fourth of DDT’s party. Even the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce criticized DDT for his “emergency” order. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the action could allow a future president with different views to declare a climate emergency or gun emergency. After telling people over 200 times that Mexico would pay for “wall,” DDT is demanding that U.S. taxpayers provide the funds.

During his odd speech this morning, DDT said he “didn’t need to” declare a national emergency but wanted to “do it much faster.” He may have followed Sean Hannity’s directive on Fox that he could accept DDT’s signing a bill without “wall” if he immediately signed the national emergency order for funding. Ann Coulter disagreed when she called DDT’s national emergency declaration a way to “scam the stupidest people in his base.” She said, “The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.” Right meets left?

A Pew Research poll found that 58 percent of the people oppose building the wall.

More of DDT’s odd statements this morning:

  • The courts, except for the Supreme Court, won’t accept his executive order—perhaps because he said he “didn’t need to” sign it.
  • The North Korea communist dictatorship has great potential to be an economic hub.
  • Women taken across the border were tied up with tape on their mouths—ala the movie Sicario. https://nelsnewday.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/how-long-will-gop-radicalize-conservatives/
  • He likes that China doesn’t have trouble with drug addiction because its government kills drug dealers—said in a fake Asian accent.
  • The wall hasn’t been built because of GOP legislators’ failure.
  • Right-wing talk show hosts support him, and Rush Limbaugh can talk for three hours.

In discussing her new book, Fascism: A Warning, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that using a national emergency to address border crossings is an example of fascist behavior and the act of “a bully with an army.” She noted a “long history” of undemocratic leaders seizing control and subverting lawmaking bodies through so-called emergencies and described DDT as showing “undemocratic” tendencies through “his approach to the free press, to democratic institutions, to the independent judiciary,… and his general disdain for the rule of law is genuinely alarming.” William Rempel describes the parallels between DDT and Philippines’ democratic president-turned-dictator Ferdinand Marcos during the 1970s.

DDT signed the veto-proof bill approving the budget until September 30. The Senate accepted the budget with 83-16 vote; four Democratic candidates voted no. The House voted 300-128 in favor; 109 Republicans and 19 Democrats voted no, and 87 Republicans voted yes. Before the vote, a large complement of Capitol Police physically shoved reporters, even a pregnant woman, away from senators willing to talk with the media. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was forced to stop an interview because of the police behavior.

DDT hopes to use an executive order to make up for getting less money for a barrier than he was offered before the 35-day shutdown of the government. Even worse, the new law blocks use of its $1.375 billion for a “concrete wall” and “only authorizes funds for ‘existing technologies,’ like the current fencing along the southern border.” DDT opposed additional immigration judges, but now he’s trying to use the additional 50 judges as a win for himself. He also got an increase in customs agents and border patrol personnel, but ICE can’t fill existing vacancies. DDT, famous for stiffing people who work for him, succeeded in doing the same for shutdown victims. He refused to pay the 580,000 federal contractors who went without pay for 35 days although they were furloughed or forced to work. That form of slavery saved him almost $200 million.

Democrats achieved more alternatives to immigration detention, more help (legal, medical, etc.) for detained immigrant families, and censure for some of the CBP’s worst practices. Immigration detention facilities must have adequate temperatures instead of freezing rooms and eliminate “chain-link type enclosures” (aka cages). Local communities will also have veto power over construction. To prevent separation of some families, DHS cannot remove or detain anyone who is a “sponsor, potential sponsor, or member of a household of a sponsor or potential sponsor of an unaccompanied alien child.”

DDT has a big problem with building the wall along the southern border: his land grabs. Yesterday, Democrats introduced bills to protect property from DDT’s eminent domain actions. One would remove DHS security to unilaterally waive “all legal requirements” for building “wall,” including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. A second would require a $20 million fund to provide legal service for low-income landowners to protect their land. The third would guarantee full compensation for seized land.

David French, once a DDT supporter, wrote in the conservative National Review about why DDT lacks the power to circumvent Congress in his attempt to seize funding and land for his wall. The former JAG officer claims that this issue was already settled over 60 years ago during the Korean War when courts stopped President Truman from seizing steel mills to prevent a strike. The emergencies act doesn’t give DDT permission for his wall because he would have to prove he needed to use the military against an ally for a function of the civilian DHS.  The statute also specifics “use,” not funding, for essential projects to national defense. DDT also has no “credible evidence” of terrorists headed to the U.S. from Mexico.

Passing the budget—despite doing it almost five months late—may make some people breathe a sign of relief, but the deadline for raising the debt ceiling arrives in less than two weeks on March 1, 2019. Failure to do so forces Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to use “extraordinary measures” to not go over the ceiling. Usually the influx of income taxes paid by April 15 helps pay the government’s bills, but the GOP passed a massive tax cut last year for the wealthy and big businesses which means much less revenue this year. Theoretically, the day when the federal government hits a crisis in its inability to pay bills hits in mid-summer which means another possibility of a shutdown if either the far-right conservatives or DDT decides they don’t want to pay the bills that they have run up with their budgets.

Perhaps everyone will agree to take responsibility for the bills that Congress incurred, but if not, it’s crisis time again. Congress has a tendency to put off its obligatory decisions until after the deadline. DDT’s officials like Mnuchin and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney say that the deficit—which causes the national debt—doesn’t matter; congressional decisions about raising the debt ceiling will determine whether they agree with the GOP administration.

Foreign investors have grown so concerned about lending money to the U.S. that their share of the debt has gone from 49 percent to 39 percent of the entire debt. Thirty percent of the government debt is to itself, including to the Social Security Trust Fund and federal employee retirement funds. Ronald Reagan started “borrowing” from the Social Security surplus, and George W. Bush ran his loan of almost $1 trillion to the top of almost $3 trillion to pay for his tax cuts, war, and recession.

DDT announced that the United States has a national emergency at the border and then headed to sunny Florida for a stay at Mar-a-Lago and a few rounds of golf. And hundreds of thousands of government workers still aren’t getting paid while the deficit skyrockets.

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